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How to Reassign Key Combinations in Outlook 2011 for Mac

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  ChrisGrover's Photo
Posted Jan 19 2011 05:23 AM

Pressing a staggering number of keyboard shortcuts can trigger an equally staggering number of Office commands. The only problem arises when you discover that Microsoft has chosen something bizarre (like Option-⌘-R for Thesaurus) instead of something more natural (like ⌘-T).

The good news is that you can reassign key combinations for any menu command—in Word and Excel, anyway. (You can’t fiddle with the keyboard commands in Power-Point or Outlook from within the programs. Instead you have to go to Attached Image→System Preferences→Keyboard and Mouse→Keyboard Shortcuts and do it there.)

To begin, choose Tools→Customize Keyboard to conjure up the Customize Keyboard window (see Figure 23-7). It works much like the toolbar-editing dialog box described earlier in this chapter. At left, click a command category; at right, click the name of the command you want to reassign. (After clicking or tabbing into one of these lists, you can jump to a particular category or command by typing the first couple of letters of its name.)

After highlighting the command for which you’d like to change or add a key combination, click in the box beneath the “Press new shortcut key” field. Now press the keys you’d like to use as the new key combo, using any combination of the Shift, Command, Option, and Control keys, along with a letter, F-key, or number key.

Figure 23-7. Here, the “Spelling and Grammar” option is being given another keyboard shortcut—Option-⌘-S. Word warns that Option-⌘-S is already in use by another command (“DocSplit,” which splits the document window into two panes); if you don’t care, just click Assign.

Attached Image


If that keystroke already “belongs” to another command in the Office 2011 program you’re using, the Customize dialog box shows you which command has it (Figure 23-7). To reassign that keystroke to the new command and remove it from the original one, click the Assign button. To keep the current setting, press Delete, and then try another keystroke.

Obviously, you can’t have two commands linked to a single keystroke. However, you can create more than one keyboard shortcut for a single command. For instance, in Word 2011, both ⌘-B and Shift-⌘-B are assigned to Bold.

Tip: If you find yourself frequently triggering a command accidentally, you may want to remove its assigned keystroke. To do so, click the command name in the list, highlight the keystroke in the “Current keys” list, and then click the Remove button. Click OK to save the changes.

If you don’t like the key combinations that you’ve edited, you can always reset them by clicking the Reset All button in the lower-right portion of the dialog box.
Office 2011 for Macintosh: The Missing Manual

Learn more about this topic from Office 2011 for Macintosh: The Missing Manual.

Office 2011 for Mac is easy to use, but to unleash its full power, you need to go beyond the basics. This entertaining guide not only gets you started with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the new Outlook for Mac, it also reveals useful lots of things you didn't know the software could do. Get crystal-clear explanations on the features you use most -- and plenty of power-user tips when you're ready for more.

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1 Reply

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  gayisgreat's Photo
Posted Jun 28 2012 02:04 PM

Does every version of Outlook for Mac 2011 come with a Tools > Customize Keyboard menu option? Mine doesn't appear to.